Are these the best things to do in Austria? We’ve spent quite some time there, and we certainly think so!
In 2007 and 2008, we spent about six months jumping in and out of Austria. It’s a small country, but one that we love to return to. We’ve travelled from the smallest of towns (like Sankt Anna am Aigen) to the famous boutique cities (Innsbruck and Salzberg spring to mind) and, of course, the capital, Vienna. This, then, is our pick of the best things to see and do.1. Discover Vienna.
There’s always more to see in this tranquilly beautiful capital, from the architecture to the parks to the world-class museums in Museumsquartier. A Third Man tour is highly recommended.
A Vienna street -- busy and beautiful
Listen to our free Vienna audio guide here.2. Ski or hike in Innsbruck.
Flying into Innsbruck is as much a treat for you as it is a challenge for the pilot, as the city is positioned between two rows of mountains — which are great for skiing in winter and hiking in summer.
Linda hiking in the mountains above Innsbruck3. Get around by train.
The train network in Austria is excellent, and the carriages are clean, comfortable and usually equipped with power sockets. There are lots of discounts available on the rather pricy tickets, or use a Eurail pass.
The Westbahnhof will become familiar to frequent travellers4. Eat at a heuriger.
These farm restaurants can only sell locally-produced food; usually a variety of cold-cut meats, cheeses and pickles. Accompany your meal with a glass of local wine, and you’ll be in heaven.
Typical heuriger fare -- best accompanied by a bottle of wine5. Go wine-tasting.
You can visit the wineries themselves, or go to a local vinothek (wine-tasting room and shop). Many towns (including some very very small ones) have a vinothek, where you can try local wines and wines from further afield for a small fee.
The weinweg wine trail in St Anna am Aigen6. Head to the countryside.
Austria’s cities are incredible, but the small towns nestled in valleys and on hillsides have a charm of their own.
Oh, and expect snow in the winter7. Visit Melk.
Made famous by Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, Melk’s sumptuous monastery sits high and impressive, overlooking the Donau and a small but interesting town below.
Melk Cathedral -- amazing inside and out8. Eat wiener schnitzel.
Preferably in Wien (otherwise known as Vienna). It’ll be served with fries or cold potato salad, and will quite likely be the size of a large plate. Make sure you’re hungry before you order one! Wash it down with beer or Almdudler: Austria’s local softdrink is hard to find outside of the country, and it’s really good.
Wiener schnitzel in Wien ... or Vienna in English9. Go to a Christmas market and drink gluhwein.
Christmas markets pop up all over Europe in late November, but Vienna’s are a bit different. For one thing, there’s not just one market; several are scattered throughout the city –- and the setting is incredible. Warm yourself up with a glass of gluhwein (mulled wine) or a hot chocolate.
Cute display of gifts in a Christmas night market
But that’s only nine things to do in Austria! You must know some more — add your ideas or questions in the comments.
Nine best things to do in Austria by Craig Martin was originally published on Indie Travel Podcast (find in iTunes). They also have travel books and guides to Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, and more.